Sales is Not a Numbers GameOctober 28, 2013 | By Wayne O'Neill
A nice looking man walks into a bar. He approaches a stunning woman and asks, “Do you want to dance?”
She declines. He sees another pretty woman, walks up to her, and asks, “Do you want to dance?” Again, no such luck. Not one to allow his spirits to get down, the man continues to the next woman, and the next, and the next.
“Do you want to dance?”
“Do you want to dance?”
“Do YOU want to dance?”
There’s no punch line. But that guy sure seems like he’s trying to swim against the current, doesn’t he?
Funny thing is, most sales teams are doing just this.
Those salespeople are assuming that if they present their product/service to enough customers, eventually somebody will take what they’re giving simply because those customers are there, and they offered something that they customer could possibly need. Leaders of these teams have decided that sales is a numbers game: based on a scientific formula, x potential customers will convert to actual customers if asked. So they rev up their engines and prepare for this qualified lead machine to come rolling in.
The people behind this business model emphasize math over connection, and in turn, are losing quality in the race to increase quantity.
Is this the best way to go about things?
I’m not saying that it can’t work. In fact, it works all of the time. It’s just not the most efficient and productive way to develop profitable business.
The numbers game is not good for business and it’s not good for employees. You’ll find that when things are structured in this way, there’s a high turnover rate. People aren’t good at it. And they never get good at it because it’s exhausting and not based on the value you deliver and impact you can make for a company. Those who do succeed under this process have only become numb to the pattern of “Ask, fail. Ask, fail. Ask, fail. Ask, make the sale. Repeat.” When the turnover rate is that high, the question lies: are we hiring the wrong people or are we using the wrong process?
What I Suggest
Start at the creation level. If you have a product or service that is complex and impactful for your clients, create something that people want to buy, and leverage what you’re selling. Reverse the model—have them want to come to you. (Remember, you’ve got an impactful product/service.) Chase less.
Then, connect. This lies in engaging through three steps: observation, evidence of research, and interest. For example, a web developer could engage in this way: “I see you’re using spreadsheets for your company’s data. I’ve found that businesses who utilize intranet programs are able to streamline imputing, processing, and then applying the data they accrue. What I’m wondering, is if you’re happy with the way you’re currently doing things, or if you’d like to see improvement?”
Or, for an architect who designs schools could try this approach: “We have learned from our research that students are learning in new ways and that your budgets have gotten tighter due do a decrease in federal funding. We believe you have more pressure on you than you ever have before to deliver for your taxpayers. Would be interested in a school design that better addresses the needs of students, and leverages also software solutions that will help the school run more efficiently, therefore saving operational budget?”
So Here’s the Bottom Line…
Begin with a great product or service. There’s no substitution for quality.
You’ll be able to retain better quality employees if you utilize a time efficient, quality-over-quantity process of doing business.
Don’t belittle your customer relationships to a game of chance. Create valuable connections by doing your research, finding out if there is interest, engaging and creating a conversation that will allow clients to conclude that they would like what you’re offering.
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